Although cobalt salts were used to decorate pottery and ceramics for thousands of years, many other uses for cobalt have been developed over the last century. A significant amount of cobalt production is used in the manufacture of superalloys that retain their strength at high temperatures. Gas turbine engines used in aircraft and space vehicles, chemical and petroleum plants, and powerplants all depend on the high-temperature strength of superalloys.

Today, cobalt’s biggest application is in rechargeable batteries to help increase battery life, stability and energy density.  Mobile phones, laptop computers, and hybrid and electric vehicles all depend on the energy produced by chemical reactions in these rechargeable batteries. Cobalt is widely considered a strategic element for the emerging green and renewable energy sectors.

Cobalt is traded on the London Metals Exchange (LME) and the New York Commodity Exchange (COMEX).


  • Cobalt is never found in its pure form within nature and most cobalt is produced as a by-product of processing copper and nickel ores.
  • Over sixty percent of all the cobalt produced in the world comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it is a by-product of copper mining.
  • The number of electric vehicles on the world’s roads are forecast to rise from around one million today to 160 million by 2035.